Slacktivist has been running a commentary on the ‘Left Behind’ series for a little while, and if you’re interested in the LB phenomenon, it is well-worth reading. I admire the fellow’s tenacity: to write a commentary you actually have to read the stuff. I got about a third of the way through the first one before I had to give up.
A slightly different approach comes from Mick LaSalle, who is writing an online novel titled The Event. It starts with an interesting premise: Imagine if everything the Religious Right believes about the End Times is true, except the Rapture doesn’t take them and the antichrist turns out to be their favorite politician…
Here’s a few lines from the opening chapter
The president’s game plan for the second presidential debate was thrown into confusion when, midway into answering a question on the Middle East war, he heard a swooshing sound and turned to see that his Democratic challenger had disappeared.
I was doing a rolling commentary on my blog, alternating between looking at the living room TV and looking down at my computer, but I caught the big moment of the night â€“ the big moment of modern recorded history, as it turned out. The president was strutting the stage, waving his arms and laughing at his own jokes, while in the background, sitting on a stool, Senator Drucker watched with a look of sardonic patience, as though witnessing the ravings of a nasty but harmless child. You could say he was giving the president the benefit of the doubt. And then a second later, the Senator was gone. Vanished.
In that moment, despite the fact that I had drunk two vodka martinis just to get through the debate, I thought a number of things in rapid succession. I thought at first that my eyes were playing tricks or that the camera had changed angles without my noticing. Then I thought that maybe the Senator had staged his own disappearance, as a curious stunt of dubious electoral value. And finally, as a second later the sounds of panic swept through the town hall audience, I thought Senator Drucker was the victim of some secret weapon that vaporized people.
Most people thought the latter. What makes me more paranoid than most is that I immediately suspected another thing, as well â€“ that if the Senator had been the victim of a secret weapon, it was probably on orders from the president. For the four years of this president’s administration, there had been a suspicion on the part of many that if President Lyle B. East had his way, he’d preside over a fascist state. Like a dictator, he had used the language of a religious crusade to enlist support for some crazy policies â€“including the starting of three unnecessary wars (ongoing), the tripling of the national debt and the devaluation of the currency. His most passionate supporters came from the religious heartland and seemed immune to newspapers, books, and discernible fact in every form. Clearly, the land of the free and the home of the brave was being turned into the land of the stupid and the home of the easily frightened and manipulated, and the prospect of four more years of East was unthinkable. Hence, my need to watch the debate shit-faced and my concentration on the Senator, who had become, by default, the hope of sane mankind.
In fact, had I been looking at the president, I’d have recognized, from his dumbfounded expression, that he’d had nothing to do with this. He was lost.
After a few seconds of stunned confusion, the crowd noise swelled, and a woman shrieked, “He’s gone! He’s gone!”Everyone assumed she was talking about the Senator, but as the field camera swung into place and zoomed in on the woman, it was clear she was distraught about the empty seat next to her â€“ a seat that presumably had had someone in it. Then, as the voice of the moderator â€“ an old golfing buddy of the president â€“ tried to still the crowd, the camera backed up to reveal a room in which a quarter of the seats, previously filled, were now vacant. “Calm down everyone. Everything is under control,” the moderator said.
But nothing was under control. The president stood holding the microphone, flummoxed. “Hey,” he said, touching at his right ear for reasons that still remain a mystery. “Is somebody gonna tell me what’s goin’ on?”